Don’t hate our purple UMC

In 2 Samuel 12, when Bathsheba’s first son was dying, David fasted and clamored with the Lord. After he died, David washed himself, ate a meal, and tried his best to move forward. That’s the position that many of us in the United Methodist Church face after several decisions made by this year’s General Conference. I feel like I made the best case I could on several issues (and I probably lost my credibility with some people I care about as a result). My church has made a decision, and I will move forward. I realize there are young adults who are wondering whether or not to leave the UMC at this point. I’d like to make a case for staying, because I think our vocation as a church right now is to occupy what Bishop Scott Jones calls “the extreme center,” as frustrating as that might sound. We are the only purple major Protestant denomination in the country right now. Every other one has split along theological or ideological lines into “left” and “right” or even further into “moderately conservative” and “fanatically conservative.” The reformed branch of Christianity probably has more sects than I have toes and fingers. What the body of Christ and our nation as a whole needs right now is a whole lot more purple and a whole lot less schism. Continue reading